Fastcase’s legal research solution is now integrated into LexBlog’s managed WordPress platform.
Publishers on LexBlog’s platform are now able to cite a case, code or regulation and have their citation linked to the source. Clicking on the link will then display, within the same browser interface, the case, code or regulation from Fastcase’s data base.
Here’s a visual of how a blog publisher may use Fastcase citations on LexBlog’s platform.
Law bloggers have had a hard time citing cases, codes and statutes. Bloggers regularly cite primary law, but what do they link to? Bloomberg, LexisNexis and Thomson Reuters LexisNexis keep primary law behind a paywall, making people subscribe to their service to gain access to the law.
A law blogger subscribing to such services has access to the law, but their readers may not. Even those readers who do subscribe to the law will not be able to access the law linked to by the blogger as the blogger may be using a different subscription service.
Many law bloggers uploaded a pdf of the law and linked to that. Others didn’t cite or link, if they did. Both a little clumsy.
That problem is now over for bloggers on LexBlog’s platform.
Equally important was the need to integrate secondary authority with primary law – cases, codes and statutes. More and more, secondary authority is being published online and open. Such is the case with the thousands of law blogs being published by practicing lawyers, law professors, law clerks and law students.
To limit secondary authority to published journals, law reviews and treatises (usually behind paywalls) is the height of folly today.
A law professor, law student or practicing lawyer is as apt to publish legal commentary on a blog or other online publication as they are to publish to traditional publications. More so in the case of practicing lawyers.
Courts have recognized law blogs and open online publications as secondary authority by accepting blog citations in briefs and citing blogs in their decisions. Courts will now be able to seamlessly examine the authority cited by a law blogger.
Somone doing online research pulling up an open publication or blog will be able to readily review the authority cited by the blogger. Courts and lawyers citing such publications and blogs will know that the source will carry links to primary law.
The second part of the Fastcase-LexBlog integration will incorporate LexBlog Network blog posts in Fastcase’s libraries. When a law blogger cites primary law, the blog will annotate the case, code or statute. Those doing research will have immediate access to the insight of other legal professionals.
Fastcase, through a partnership with HeinOnline, already annotates primary law with an extensive collection of law reviews. Law blogs curated by LexBlog will be a natural fit.
Expect to see this next phase of the integration within a few months.
Ed Walters (@EJWalters), the CEO of Fastcase, and I have talked about this integration for years. Ed is a big proponent of open law and law blogs serving as secondary authority.
As way of background, Fastcase is a leading legal publisher focused on smarter legal software that democratizes the law.
Founded in 1999 by Ed and Phil Rosenthal, Fastcase is one of the fastest-growing legal tech companies, with more than 800,000 subscribers from around the world and is licensed by the majority of state bar associations for their members.